Classes in Richmond, MA, Coming in September!

The Western Mass Roots Team will be holding a five session genealogy class program at the Richmond Free Public Library in Richmond, MA on Thursdays, September 12, 19, 26 and October 3 and 10, 2019 from 4 to 6 pm. Topics covered will include Ancestry, FamilySearch, Ellis Island immigration records using, naturalization and citizenship, and the US Census.

Contact the Richmond Library at (413) 698-3834 for further info and to sign up.

Keep track of upcoming WMARE classes in your area by visiting

Question of the Month – from the Polish Genealogical Society of CT and the Northeast

Question:  I have had limited success in finding family members in passenger lists and naturalization records?? to learn where they were born in Europe. I have read in several places that church records are a good source to unearth this type of geographical information. Can you comment, please?

Answer:  Sacramental records of Polish-American parishes can be an excellent source of this type of information but not always. The presence or completeness of geographical information is totally and wholly dependent on the record keeping practices and attitude of the priests who made the entries in the registers.

Some priests attached great importance in documenting the European origins of their parishioners and if you are lucky you can learn the village, parish, county and province of birth of an ancestor. On the other end of the spectrum you will learn zero as the priest left this part of the register blank.

Keep in mind that in a given register there may be a mix of geographical data. One priest may have recorded villages but his successor did not think this information was important and ceased providing this type of information. It is important to check the entire register to see if and where the geographical data appear.

The greatest chance to discover geography is usually in marriage records. Birth records also may contain the European birthplaces of parents of children baptized in the US. The least geography is usually recorded in death records. Even if the geography is entered it will not always be of the same quality. Some priests only listed the province of birth, some disappointingly listed only the partition.

Our Society did a survey of geographical information in parish records many years ago. In Connecticut the Polish Roman Catholic parishes with partial or nearly complete geography in the early parish registers included Derby, New Haven, New Britain (Sacred Heart only), Meriden, Hartford, Union City, Southington, Terryville and Middletown. Three parishes were not surveyed as the priests refused access to the registers.

Irish Cultural Festival at the Irish Cultural Center – Saturday, August 24, 2019.

The Irish Cultural Center of Western New England, along with Black Rose Academy of Irish Dance and Cassin Academy of Irish Dance, is excited to present the second annual Irish Cultural Festival at the ICC on Saturday, August 24, 2019.

The Saturday festival will be a day of Irish music, dance, and culture. This family friendly event will have something for everyone. A trad Irish seisiún will open the festival. The Cassin Academy of Irish Dance and Black Rose Academy of Irish Dance will present dance exhibitions. Visitors can learn Irish dance, visit vendors of Irish crafts and products, and participate in workshops featuring Irish arts and language, and music and entertainment throughout the day.

The events will take place rain or shine on the field on the ICC grounds at 429 Morgan Road in West Springfield. There will be a variety of food trucks and concession stands, along with beer and drinks for sale. Parking will be available at the pavilion lot behind the ICC, and also at West Springfield High School with a shuttle service.

Tickets (cash only) are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6–12, and free for children 5 and under.

Visit their website HERE for more information.

August 2019 Monthly Meeting of the Central Massachusetts Genealogical Society

The monthly meeting of CMGSO will take place on August 27th at 7 p.m. in the upper hall of the American Legion Post #129 at 22 Elm Street, Gardner MA.

This month’s featured speaker is Kathleen Kaldis and the topic of her presentation is “Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters”. Kathleen holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University, and has successfully completed many genealogical institute courses though the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH). Previously she was a genealogist with the New England Historical Genealogical Society in Boston. Kathleen is very active within the genealogical community serving in many leadership positions within many organizations. She is a member of the Lexington DAR.

CMGSO are always happy for visitors at their meetings so please drop in.

CMGSO annual membership is $15 for individuals or $20 for couples (Jan – Dec). Contact them at CMGSO, PO Box 811, Westminster, MA, or visit their website at

Interested in a little help with your Genealogy?

Are you stuck? Hit a brick wall? Not sure where to go from here? Just getting started on your family tree? Need to add a limb? If you live in the North Adams, MA area, you’re in luck! Alan Doyle Horbal is offering free genealogy assistance on Mondays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the North Adams Public Library.

Alan has in excess of 40 years of experience doing genealogical research and is a former volunteer at the National Archives.

Assistance is by appointment ONLY, so contact the library at 413-662-3133, Ext 13 to make an appointment, or stop by the second floor of the library.

The library is located at 74 Church Street, North Adams. Off-street parking is available.